How to format your references using the Constraints citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Constraints. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Dovidio, J. F. (2009). Psychology. Racial bias, unspoken but heard. Science (New York, N.Y.), 326(5960), 1641–1642.
A journal article with 2 authors
Chaudhuri, J., & Jasin, M. (2007). Immunology. Antibodies get a break. Science (New York, N.Y.), 315(5810), 335–336.
A journal article with 3 authors
Mitrovica, J. X., Gomez, N., & Clark, P. U. (2009). The sea-level fingerprint of West Antarctic collapse. Science (New York, N.Y.), 323(5915), 753.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Messenger, S., Keller, L. P., Stadermann, F. J., Walker, R. M., & Zinner, E. (2003). Samples of stars beyond the solar system: silicate grains in interplanetary dust. Science (New York, N.Y.), 300(5616), 105–108.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Lane, C. (2011). Magnolia. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
An edited book
Dievernich, F. E. P., Tokarski, K. O., & Gong, J. (Eds.). (2015). Change Management and the Human Factor: Advances, Challenges and Contradictions in Organizational Development. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Cames, M., & Weidlich, A. (2006). Emissions trading and innovation in the German electricity industry — impact of possible design options for an emissions trading scheme on innovation strategies in the German electricity industry. In R. Antes, B. Hansjürgens, & P. Letmathe (Eds.), Emissions Trading and Business (pp. 39–51). Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag HD.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Constraints.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2015, March 23). World’s Forests Are Fragmenting Into Tiny Patches – Risking Mass Extinctions. IFLScience. IFLScience. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. (2003). Aviation Assistance: Information on Payments Made Under the Disaster Relief and Insurance Reimbursement Programs (No. GAO-03-1156R). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
An, D. (2017). Improved Flotation of Bastnaesite and Chalcopyrite (Doctoral dissertation). University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Billard, M. (2010, August 19). A Shoe With Meow. New York Times, p. E5.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1, 2].
This sentence cites four references [1–4].

About the journal

Full journal titleConstraints
ISSN (print)1383-7133
ISSN (online)1572-9354
ScopeArtificial Intelligence
Computational Theory and Mathematics
Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics

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